The Press Newspaper
With the defeat of a 5.9-mill emergency operating levy for the Oregon City Schools district, the school board plans to make further cuts to avoid a looming budget deficit in 2012.
The levy, which would have brought in $3.4 million annually, was defeated last Tuesday by a vote of 5,603 to 3,907, according to unofficial results from the Toledo Lucas County Board of Elections.
The levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $182 annually.
It is the second time voters rejected a levy in the district since 2009. In August, 2009, voters defeated the same measure 3,605 to 1,119.
The school board had pinned its hopes on the levy passing this time because it made more cuts in the operating budget in the last year. In total, the board has cut $8 million from the budget in the last three years, including 32 teaching positions.
The district also negotiated concessions with both classified and certified teachers’ unions.
Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said there would be no further budget cuts, despite the defeat of a proposed .25 income tax increase for three years at the polls last Tuesday.
The measure, defeated by a vote of 1,088, or 66.42 percent, to 550, or 33.58 percent, would have raised the income tax from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent had it passed. The additional revenue would have provided funds for capital improvements, capital reinvestment and operating expenses.
Stoner had made drastic cuts in personnel and services in the last year and a half as a result of reduced tax revenue collected by the city due to the poor economy.
But revenue in the last four months has slowly been rising for the city, reversing a downward trend in income tax collections for the last year.
“We’ve already done a lot of the cuts,” Stoner told The Press on Wednesday. In October, income tax revenue was up 2.5 percent compared to last October.
The Lake Township trustees have given their approval to an automatic response agreement between the township fire department and the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District but said the agreement will be reviewed after six months with an eye on what it’s costing the township.
The trustees unanimously voted in support of a resolution to enter into the agreement with the district but directed Mark Hummer, township administrator, to compile cost figures for the first six months the agreement is in effect.
Under the agreement, the township would automatically provide a rapid intervention team and ladder truck for all structure fires in the Allen-Clay district. The district, in turn, is agreeing to provide a rapid intervention team, rescue vehicle, and fire engine to all structure fires in Lake Township.
Rapid intervention teams set up outside of buildings on fire to rescue or assist endangered fire fighters inside.
Vicki Schwamberger, township fiscal officer, raised questions about the cost of the agreement, noting members of the fire department are credited for two points per hour “right out the door” for fire runs. Under the point system for the department, two points would equal $20, she said.
The recession is prompting Mayor Mike Seferian to reconsider the proposed construction of a concession/restroom facility that would serve the new South Recreation Complex.
“As you know, we had budgeted money for a concession stand and restroom facility,” Seferian said to council at a committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 1. “With the budgetary concerns we have, to proceed to build that right now, things are kind of at a holdup.”
The facility, which would be located on city owned property off Starr Extension Avenue west of the access drive and parking lots in the middle of the soccer and flag football fields, is estimated to cost $240,000, he said.
The Recreation & Parks Committee considered reducing the size or altering the proposed facility, said Seferian.
“That was something I wasn’t prepared to do,” he said.
He and Administrator Mike Beazley do not want the project to be financed with money from the General Fund, he said.
“Mr. Beazley and I are working on a different concept to fund this rather than taking general fund money to actually build this facility. The one thing we don’t want to do is fund this concession stand/restroom facility with our incoming revenues. We’re going to make it stand on its own merits, and we believe we can do that,” said Seferian.
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